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The Murder of Dr. Chapman: The Legendary Trials of Lucretia Chapman and Her Lover Kindle Edition
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“A first-rate blending of true-crime, character-study and history [that] kept me riveted from the first word to the last.” —Susan Isaacs, New York Times–bestselling author of Compromising Positions
“With her customary reportorial skill, Linda Wolfe gives us a ringside seat at what must surely have been one of the most fascinating murder trials in 19th century America. . . . A wonderfully racy and illuminating slice of pre-tabloid tabloid history.” —Molly Haskell, author of Love and Other Infectious Diseases
“Wolfe has clearly done her research, but she’s also a fine storyteller, teasing out the details of who did what and how while preserving the suspense.” —Los Angeles Times
“[Linda Wolfe] captures the tenor and texture of the times, the prevailing moods and opinions, and delivers them to the reader without breaking stride.” —Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
- ASIN : B00MF0ZWP6
- Publisher : Open Road Media (August 26, 2014)
- Publication date : August 26, 2014
- Language : English
- File size : 3569 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 312 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #543,750 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Maps and pictures are always a helpful tool in non-fiction, this book has neither.
Although the author mistakenly locates All Saints Church in Hulmeville, PA ... when it clearly stands in Northeast Philadelphia on the edge of Bucks County, I give The Murder of Dr. Chapman 5 stars
Lucretia Winslow moved to Philadelphia in 1813. She was 25 years old, an age that marked her as liable to spinsterhood. She was tall and striking, and smart, and she moved to Philadelphia to accept a teaching position, one of the respectable ways unmarried women could make it in the world. Of course, she probably made the move to increase her marital prospects, too, and in 1818 she indeed married William Chapman. William was ten years older than Lucretia and several inches shorter. He was an accountant, but studied ways to cure stuttering. They may not have had a passionate marriage, but it began with respect and affection. The stolid William eventually ceased to satisfy her. Enter the third vertex of the triangle. Lino was 23 years old, a superb conman and criminal deported from Havana. He had bilked plenty of others before wandered to the Chapman's house, told a tale of how he had been robbed, and entranced both William and Lucretia, who decided that he should stay with them until his affairs were straight and his wealthy family started sending him money again. Within a month, Lino and Lucretia were lovers, and William was dead. It seemed that he had died of natural causes, food poisoning or cholera. Nine days later, Lino married Lucretia, who took a heartbreakingly long time eventually to realize she was being conned and stolen from. Eventually it became clear that Lino had bought arsenic days before William first turned ill. When he was arrested for William's death, so was she. Naturally, their trials form the climax of this riveting book.
So, was it murder, and if so, who did it? It would be wrong to tell how the juries for their separate trials decided on the issue, even though there is a gallows and coffin on the cover of the book. Wolfe has recreated the trials in fascinating detail. The newspapers enjoyed scandal then and now, but scandals as domestic news were a zesty novelty. The papers called Lino "a villain of no ordinary character" and Lucretia "a woman of violent passions." Wolfe herself concludes that probably Lucretia did not take part in her husband's murder, but that "probably" is going to have to be judged by every reader. It is an assignment that no one interested in thrilling true-crime narratives will want to pass up.
It is extremely easy to read, short, and written clearly. The flow of the story makes it difficult to put it down.
The case itself is incredible. Lucretia Chapman seemed to have lived a charmed life until her husband dies. Or did she? As a stranger persists in her home (and her bed?), he arouses suspicion ... Was Dr. Chapman murdered? Who is this stranger? And who is Lucretia Chapman really? By exposing these once living people with all that remains of their lives, Wolfe is able to create a compelling and almost complete picture of their lives. Wolfe bewitches readers in this fascinating story with excellent background information to ease you into this time (1830s northeastern America).
I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was nice--nothing ground breaking here, but a pleasure to read. I am glad I read it, and will probably read it again. Recommend.